I watched a father give a blessing to his baby today. It was very touching, in part, because three years ago the father was not a member; and he and his wife could not have children. He is now sealed to his wife in the temple and last month his wife gave birth to a healthy boy. The change I have seen in his life and the life of his family has been amazing and touching.
So today he--a special man in his own right--took that miracle infant in his arms and, as a new member and a new father, gave his precious son a name and a blessing.
In our church we do not baptize infants. We wait until they know the difference between right and wrong and can choose to follow the Savior. Usually young members choose to be baptized by immersion about the age of eight years old. However, when they are infants their full name is officially recorded and they are given a special a blessing in front of the congregation.
As this father, surrounded by family and close friends, held his infant in his arms and gave him a blessing I was also touched by this fact: We are the only church I know of that allows fathers the opportunity--and the eternal priesthood authority--to officiate in key spiritual ordinances during the life of their family members. What a wonderful, bonding blessing for the recipients and the givers. This opportunity and right falls to the fathers.
God does not expect or require paper diplomas, certificates or theological training to do His work. He doesn’t require status, wealth or education. Through the restoration of the priesthood God has given true authority to worthy fathers, worldwide, to bless the lives of their families. Why? Because He wants us, imperfect as we are, to experience a portion of the love for our children that He holds for us. He wants us to feel a small piece of what He feels. All things are in similitude of Him.
Therefore, in our church, fathers holding the priesthood are able to bless their infants. That sacred, special ordinance and bonding moment can belong to them. It is their privilege and their cherished memory forever. These special moments help unite the family forever and for right now.
If their children desire to be baptized unto the remission of sins and a new life following the Savior, again a family member holding the priesthood can take them down into the waters of baptism. How special!
The gift of the Holy Ghost can also be bestowed upon them by a family member. Blessings of comfort, guidance or healing can be given to them, all by those who love them and know them best.
It is the perfect way in an imperfect world. After all, who holds more right to preside over the lives of their family than a loving, righteous father?
Our Father in Heaven knows that perfectly.